Together we have it all ! Benefits of participation in collective emotional gatherings and communal coping
Wlodarczyk, Anna Marcelina
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Participation in collective activities, gatherings and rituals plays an important role in the way people cope with collective disadvantage as well as entails major positive effects for social cohesion, functioning and well-being. Across five studies we tested the hypothesis that collective disadvantage and participation in collective activities can increase coping potential and provide positive psychosocial outcomes through the experience of perceived emotional synchrony and self-transcendence emotions. In a context of a natural disaster (Chapter 1), participation in secular and spiritual rituals and communal coping was associated with enhanced social well-being and posttraumatic growth. Subsequently, we confirmed that collective traumatic experience such as a natural disaster can result in perceptions of benefits not only at personal but also at communal and societal levels (Chapter 2). Moreover, we examined the mediational role of different communal coping strategies in the relationship between trauma intensity and posttraumatic growth in different cultural contexts (Chile, Spain and Colombia) (Chapter 3). Furthermore, based on longitudinal data we demonstrated that the effects of participation on empowerment and openness to the world and others are explained by the experience of emotional synchrony accompanied by feelings of self-transcendent emotions which are generated during both religious and secular events (Chapter 4). Finally, while aiming to contribute to a clarification of the explanatory mechanisms of collective action offered by theories of collective action and social identity, we set out to integrate a self-transcendent emotion of hope as a driver of participation and involvement in collective mobilizations, (Chapter 5). Together, participation in collective gatherings should be viewed not only as a communal coping strategy, but also as an upward spiraling pathway to and from self-transcendent positive emotions and emotional synchrony. Overall, the present dissertation offers an insight into the understanding of mechanisms which facilitate positive changes across different contexts.